Twitchbait. A ubiquitous term in fishing. That is due to its versatility. Freshwater big Bass guys love them, Striper fishermen kept them quiet for years (until word got out), and Snook fanatics depend on them to put fish in the boat. Redfish also LOVE a Twitchbait.
So, what is a Twitchbait Lure and how do you use it to fish for Redfish? For Redfish there are two types of Twitchbait. Suspending and Sinking. While you can use it on top of the water with a fast, erratic darting retrieve, most Redfish anglers use varying sizes of Suspending or Sinking models. There are a lot of different Twitchbaits available, and some would be considered stand-bys that most Redfish anglers already have in their tackle assortment. A properly presented Twitchbait will dart or slide back and forth erratically. It is ‘twitched’ by the angler and the snap sends the lure sliding off in organic and erratic directions looking like a baitfish fleeing. Twitchbaits can be used any time of the year, but they shine when the water gets cold and the Redfish metabolism slows down. This is different than a cold front or a temporary cold snap. It is seasonal and is usually in late fall, winter, and early spring. It also depends on where in the Redfish’s range you are. “Winter” in southern Florida is still quite comfortable to us humans, but the small drop in water temperature for the season will slow the Redfish’s metabolism down no matter how nice it feels to you.
OK, when, where, and how do I use a Twitchbait to catch my PB Redfish you may be asking yourself. Good questions. As stated Twitchbaits dart and slide around erratically. They are generally light and you cannot cast them great distances. They are not ideal search baits. You would use this bait when fishing specific zones you believe Redfish will be holding waiting on an ambush and also in colder seasons. Due to its weight you cannot throw it too far so you would throw it precisely to areas wintering fish would be hanging out.
This is when you determine whether to use a Suspending or Sinking. You would use a Suspending Twitchbait in shallower water throwing at key structure or cover like docks, or channel drop offs, or edges of grass shoreline. Lethargic Reds are sitting near ambush points wait for the food to come to them. You will oblige by throwing a Suspending model, working it erratically and then STOP it right in what you think is the ambush zone. Let it sit. Give it a twitch. Let it sit. Repeat. Thinner leader, lighter hooks and smaller sized Twitchbaits can entice frigid fish to turn on. This technique works all season long on all species around the world. Using it for Redfish any time of the year is smart, using it in seasonal cold stretches is next level.
Sinking Twitchbait essentially do the same thing except they sink. Some sink fast, some slower. This sets it apart from its Suspending cousin in two ways. First, the very action of a lure sinking fires off any predator fish’s attack trigger. When a bait fish is dying or injured it will very often try and swim up and away from a predator only to succumb and start to fall back. Boom! Its how Redfish pick out the weak link from a school of baitfish. Secondly, a sinking lure allows you to get your Twitchbait down deeper. This is very useful in cold water months when they go deeper to avoid temperature changes and find safety of deep structure. When you find deep drop offs next to structure like a dock or a grass bank, throw the Suspending Twitchbait above the target zone and let it sink into the hole for that Redfish sitting deep in an ambush zone waiting for bait to fall into its ambush.
Twitchbaits can be fished on Medium to Medium Heavy Inshore Rods and depending on your preference are effective on spinning gear and baitcasting gear. Have your main running line be braid. Use fluorocarbon leader for two reasons, much less visible as cold weather water tends to be very clear and in the shallows mono shows up as a shadow on bottom. Fluorocarbon also is stiffer and sinks, this lets a balanced lure keep its perfectly flat presentation. All you need to know about how to work a Twitchbait is in its name. Just retrieve with twitches and pauses. Don’t be afraid to let it sit. Also don’t be afraid to let them be retrieved quickly, especially in warmer months.
There are untold brands and offerings when looking for a Redfish Twitchbait. An article on them would not be complete without mentioning the heavyweights in the Twitchbait game. MirroLure is the tried-and-true stand by. Found everywhere and very effective this lure does a fine job doing what we described above. Another venerable lure is the Rapala Skitter Walk. But their popularity may be a limiting factor. Every Redfish in the USA have seen them. Over and over. Fish absolutely become used to certain lures and become conditioned to avoid the underwater sound, the way it moves, and the vibrations it puts out. So how do you find a Twitchbait that does what a Twitchbait is supposed to do, yet is different?
That is where the Auto Tune System from Nomad Design comes into play. So unique, Auto Tune has been patented which is very rare in fishing as most patents are denied as most designs already exist. Created for the intense Big Game Tuna and Marlin DTX Lures that Nomad created and are household words in Offshore Tournament Fishing, the Auto Tune System on the Nomad MadScad AT perfectly adapts to the Inshore game.
The Autotune System allows more movement at the line tie point and creates a wide, yet natural, side to side swimming action when retrieved. When twitched and paused it has a side-to-side wiggle as it slowly sinks making it look like a wounded baitfish. This movement and the action it imparts is something new to the Redfish and they are attacking them! Available in three sizes and in Sinking and Floating the MadScad AT (AT for Auto Tune) can take a novice and turn their retrieves into pro grade and take a veteran Redfish angler and up his game.
No matter what brand you buy, where you fish them, or what you fish for with them; adding Twitchbaits to your repertoire can only bring great things. You can visit our site to see the sizing and color choices and learn more about the other features included in all Nomad products that are the underpinnings of our motto, Crafted By Experience, Innovative by Design.